NASA’s Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) Program, located in the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD), provides space communication and navigation services for scientific, technology and human spaceflight missions. SCaN currently provides Direct-to-Earth (DTE) TT&C services for orbital and sub-orbital missions through a combination of commercial ground stations and NASA-owned/Contractor-operated stations for near-Earth users.
Goddard Space Flight Center’s (GSFC) Exploration and Space Communications (ESC) Projects Division manages the near-Earth network activities for SCaN through Near Earth Network (NEN) and the Space Network (SN). ESC is responsible for mission-support planning, mission execution and load-balancing, as well as operations and maintenance of systems that defines the DTE near-Earth network to ensure that all users receive the services required by their mission within latency and accuracy requirements.
It is the vision of SCaN to invite the increased participation by commercial communication service providers to support missions operating in the near-Earth region. This initiative is consistent with NASA’s strategic goal to foster the commercialization of this region of space through increased private sector participation. The first initiative for evaluating the scope and breadth of this potential expansion of commercial participation seeks private sector input on the means and methods to achieve this goal for DTE RF users in the near-Earth regime. ESC’s Commercialization, Innovation and Synergies (CIS) Office is the focal point for executing this first initiative. The CIS office is seeking ideas and information through this Request For Information (RFI) to benchmark the current capabilities of private industry to provide communications and navigations data services for NASA missions in three timeframes as defined in section 2.2 of the Attachment titled “Commercialization of NASA Communications and Navigation Network for Direct-to-Earth (DTE) Radio Frequency (RF) Services”.
This RFI is for planning purposes only and will be used to inform and mature architecture definition activities intended to define and enable increased participation by industry. Responses to this RFI may be used to shape future solicitations, vendor conferences or partnership programs. Therefore, NASA is seeking information on existing and/or planned commercial capabilities that could potentially be used to augment SCaN’s current communications and navigation services to users flying in the near-Earth region and employing a DTE RF operations concept. While this RFI is focused on DTE RF operations that could be used to support NASA missions which are currently operating in the near-Earth region, SCaN is simultaneously considering a combination of other RFIs, solicitations, vendor conferences, and/or partnership programs with a broader technological focus (e.g. inclusive of both RF and optical technologies), with less specificity regarding the communications architecture (e.g. inclusive of both DTE and space-based relay operations concepts), and with a longer time horizon (e.g. focused on missions that have not yet entered or are about to formally enter project formulation).
See Attachment “Commercialization of NASA Communications and Navigation Network for Direct-to-Earth (DTE) Radio Frequency (RF) Services” for more information on the information requested and instructions for response submittal.